Posted by: James Shannon | December 29, 2010

Life Of Pai Episode I: Bubbling Streams, Bananas and Big Elephants

After relaxing in the big city of Chiang Mai for a bit, it was off to the much-ballyhooed mountain town of Pai for an undetermined amount of time.  My friend Katie has lived here each winter for the past seven years, and had offered to host me during my stay.  So off I went, looking forward to my time there, as being a resident of the Canadian Rockies, I have become quite the fan of mountainous environments; they invigorate me, being full of limitless potential in their monstrous forms.

Finally, after surviving the 762 curves (many of them hairpins)  and poor planning with respect to bathroom breaks (I’m amazed I made it to the urinal 100% dry at the halfway point stop) enroute to Pai, I met up with Katie, rented a motorbike on an open-ended lease (140 [$4.62 CDN] baht to start, + 100 [$3.30 CDN] baht per day after), and then it was off to her digs three kilometres from the edge of town.

The view from Katie’s bungalow just outside of Pai

The kitchen … the actual cooking elements are on the deck outside.  You may see the gap in the roof and gasp, but this is actually very normal for a traditional style Thai bungalow; remember, we are in the tropics, you only need to keep the rain out!

My room for the twelve days that I was in Pai … this room, as a bedroom, actually is sealed from the outside, as it can get a little chilly at night in the winter (Pai is in a mountain valley … one morning while I was here registered a mere six degrees Celsius on the thermometer!)


After getting settled in for the night, we got up the next morning and decided to do some exploring around the rural roads and farmer’s fields close by Katie’s house…

Along the way we came across a stream that was running higher than normal (it was supposed to be an easy crossing, according to Katie), due to rain in the hills in the previous three days … she leapt across on precarious rocks … I took off my shoes and socks and forded the river like a true mountain man! 😛  It was all the way up to my ankles, so harrowing!

Yup, those are bananas.  They grow in the wild here.  Rad.

My gracious hostess/guide, who showed me around the tributaries of the Pai River and the surrounding farmer’s fields that morning … but we were just getting started.

After showering up after the cool, but humid hike, we got our bikes revved up and explored the valley more extensively.  First, let’s get a view of the valley from up on high;  it was overcast that day, and I have a second video on a much nicer day, but I figured it was good enough to show here despite the soundcuts from zooming in and out (screw you HP!)

After admiring the view for about fifteen minutes, we had time to fit in one more major attraction on the day.  Katie led me to an Elephant corral, where I got up close and personal with the gorgeous beasts…

Me and Bob the Elephant (not his real name, but let’s run with it) … don’t we make a charming couple! 😛

Here big guyyyyy, come get some delicious elephant grass …

… oi, what the?! I love you Bob, but not in that way! 🙂

I have one more photo for you, but I’m hiding it in a link … if you are eating/drinking something, I don’t want to be held liable for a choking death/coffee burn lawsuit, or something like that! 😛


Have you put the doughnut and cup of Timmies/Starbucks/Dunkins/insert non-sellout indie brand of coffee here? Click here and prepare to laugh or puke your guts out!

Well, that’s the latest I’ve taken to post on a scheduled posting day, sorry if I kept you guys waiting or in suspense, but my creative energy is in ebb mode right now (nothing wrong or anything, we all have our productive up and down cycles, whether we admit to it or not!).

Back to the business of living, I’m off to find Doi Suthep again today (had an epic fail yesterday thinking that Suthep Road led to the trail that takes you up the mountain … it doesn’t) … catch ya later!



  1. Especially loved this blog. Great writing and wonderful pics. The elephant is hugging you because he knows you have a beautiful soul. Animals always know the good ones. Keep safe.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: